Moebius Sculpture

Abstract architecture applied to amusement technology

This is "Steel Hawg" which is currently under construction at Indiana Beach.
The builders of this ride, formerly "Arrow Dynamics", were responsible for bringing the steel rollercoaster to the USA (Disneyland´s Matterhorn Bobsleds).
Next door at Knotts Berry Farm they would erect the first "Corkscrew" coaster and they were responsible for bringing the log-flume to amusement parks all over the world.
While other manufacturers would use the most advanced technologies to sculpture more and more daring designs, Arrow was notorious for modelling their rides with bended coat hangers!

In the seventies their testing facility was located behind a drive-in theater in Mountain View, California. I guess that watching the contraptions on their testing grounds must have been much more thrilling than watching, say "The Deep".

After they had almost lost the amusement arms-race to Swiss and German manufacturers Arrow finally went off stage with a big bang! Arrow´s most outlandish steel monster, "X" at Magic Mountain in 2001.
When this incredibly complex and gargantuan machine turned out to be a costly and difficult Diva, which was far too risky to become a big seller, Arrow had to close their doors.

When entrepreneur Stan Checkets, who stormed into the amusement industry in the mid-nineties with his invention of the air-powered free-fall ride, decided to expand his product pallette, he hired the Arrow-engineers and formed S&S Arrow.

Based in Utah, the S&S plant soon became an experimantal dreamland for outlandish prototypes and hi-tech thrill rides. Like a demented amusement park straight out of "Vermillion Sands", Checkets also builds rides that will never see the light of day in any conventional or commercial venue.

The "Sonic Boom" is actually a 400ft. Chimney which allows you to fall down its dark shaft in a small cabin. At the top YOU have to press the "go"-button and then gravity will take over. The only thing that stops you from crashing into the ground is the compressed air that builds underneath you in this metal cylinder. The sound you make while being braked to a stand still gave the ride its name.

Visit Johnnyupsidedown.com for some photos and videos of this strange place.

The "Steel Hawg" is their latest attempt to get a share of the market of so called compact coasters planned for shopping malls and smaller parks. The design seems to reflect the confusion and overall lack of direction in the fun-business.

Currently they are building their first ride in Germany. Not quite a rollercoaster it will be the ride with the fastest and strongest acceleration on the planet. Build next to the legendary Nürburgring race-track it will run parallel to the course and will speed up to 217 km/h in 2.5 seconds.

No comments: